Marine spatial management is an important step in regulating the sustainable use of marine resources and preserving habitats and species. The systematic conservation planning software “Marxan” was used to analyse the effect of different conservation objectives and targets on the design of a network of marine protected areas around two islands of the Azores archipelago, Northeast Atlantic. The analyses integrated spatial patterns of the abundance and reproductive potential of multispecies, the vulnerability of fish to fishing, habitat type, algae biotopes, and socio-economic costs and benefits (including fishing effort and recreational activities). Three scenarios focused on fisheries-related objectives (“fisheries scenarios”, FSs) and three on multiple-use and biodiversity conservation objectives (“biodiversity scenarios”, BSs), respectively. Three different protection targets were compared for each set, the existing, minimum, and maximum levels of protection, whereas conservation features were weighted according to their biologically/ecologically functioning. Results provided contrasting solutions for site selection and identified potential gaps in the existing design. The influence of the conservation objective on site selection was most evident when minimum target levels were applied. Otherwise, solutions for FSs and BSs were very similar and mostly shaped by the protection level. More important, BSs that considered opportunity cost and benefits achieved conservation targets more cost-efficiently. The presented systematic approach ensures that targets for habitats with high fish abundance, fecundity, and vulnerability are achieved efficiently. It should be of high applicability for adaptive management processes to improve the effectiveness of existing spatial management practices, in particular when fishing and leisure activities coexist, and suggest that decision-makers should account for multiple users’ costs and benefits when designing and implementing marine reserve networks.
Table of Contents
- From the Director
- Resilience: One Louisiana Community’s Comeback from a Two-Hurricane Punch
- Massachusetts Ocean Plan Gets High Marks Following First Approved Project
- West Maui Initiative Connects the Dots between Everyday Actions and Coral Reef Health
- Smart Devices are Helping Create Estuarine-Smart Kids in Florida
- Online Atlas Documents Coastal Land Cover Changes over Time
- End Note
This document presents a comprehensive overview of results from more than a decade of work by the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) Biogeography Branch and the Department of the Interior National Park Service (NPS) to assess status and trends within and around federally managed marine protected areas (MPAs) of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).
The report provides: (1) an overview of the history of MPAs, types of MPAs and associated regulations, and a list of all MPAs in the USVI; (2) an ecological performance report for three intensively surveyed MPA units managed by NPS, including 20 biological metrics for fish and benthic habitat; (3) sightings of large-bodied fishes with moderate to high vulnerability to fishing; and (4) synthesis, summary and recommendations for management.
This report is the first time that an assessment of ecological performance has been conducted for MPAs in the USVI. A decade of underwater surveys was analyzed to detect trends on coral reefs inside MPAs and for a similar range of habitats outside of MPAs. The information, data synthesis, interpretation and recommendations are intended to help focus management actions and goal setting, inform outreach products and adjust expectations regarding ecological performance for MPAs in the region. The data presented here provide important baselines required for tracking MPA performance through future monitoring efforts.
In Palk Bay (India), fishing is intrinsically tied to a complex and dynamic geo-political situation. The trawl fishers from India are finding it increasingly difficult to operate in the bay due to the strict enforcement of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) by the Sri Lanka Navy and the increasing animosity of the small scale gill netters of Northern Sri Lanka, who accuse the Indian trawlers of encroaching and destroying their livelihood. In the multi-scalar nature of this conflict, it is easy for policy makers and researchers to get distracted by processes happening at different scales (regional, national) thereby ignoring the local processes that shape everyday fishing. By analysing the everyday lives and lived places of the fishers in the two trawl centres of Rameswaram and Mandapam, this article exclusively focusses on the scale of the local. A closer look at these centres, located in close proximity to each other, reveals substantial differences in the way fisheries are managed. The objective of this paper is to understand how one of these centres is able to manage its fleet better (better price for fishes, lower discards and higher compliance) than the other, increasing understanding of the dynamics of resource usage in Palk Bay to give clues for possible solutions. Through the ethnographic method, the research uses the concept of relational place making in analysing local fishery resource usage. By dialectically analysing the various social, political and economic processes both on land and at sea in each these centres, I conclude that the differences in management between them are an outcome of a series of complex interactions between several processes. Based on my analysis, I argue that the mismanagement of the Rameswaram fleet and the better managed Mandapam fleet cannot be attributed only to the relative strength of the institutional set up on land but should also take into consideration the conditions at sea. Thus, managing a complex fishery system requires a better understanding of the interaction of various processes that happen at different places of concern to the everyday lives of the fishers, moving beyond the limited narrow focus of several place based studies which focus on a singular place, social group and scale.
A model is developed to calculate and spatially allocate ship engine exhaust emissions in ports and extensive coastal waters using terrestrial Automatic Identification System data for ship movements and operating modes. The model is applied to the Australian region. The large geographical extent and number of included ports and vessels, and anomalies in the AIS data are challenging. Particular attention is paid to filtering of the movement data to remove anomalies and assign correct operating modes. Data gaps are filled by interpolation and extrapolation. Emissions and fuel consumption are calculated for each individual vessel at frequent intervals and categorised by ship type, ship size, operating mode and machinery type. Comparisons of calculated port emissions with conventional inventories and ship visit data are favourable. Estimations of ship emissions from regions within a 300 km radius of major capital cities suggest that a non-negligible percentage of air pollutants may come from ships.
There is an increasing need for environmental management advice that is wide-scoped, covering various interlinked policies, and realistic about the uncertainties related to the possible management actions. To achieve this, efficient decision support integrates the results of pre-existing models. Many environmental models are deterministic, but the uncertainty of their outcomes needs to be estimated when they are utilized for decision support. We review various methods that have been or could be applied to evaluate the uncertainty related to deterministic models' outputs. We cover expert judgement, model emulation, sensitivity analysis, temporal and spatial variability in the model outputs, the use of multiple models, and statistical approaches, and evaluate when these methods are appropriate and what must be taken into account when utilizing them. The best way to evaluate the uncertainty depends on the definitions of the source models and the amount and quality of information available to the modeller.
The Te Korowai vision can be summarised as:
By perpetuating the mauri and wairua of Te Tai ō Marokura
The community act as kaitiaki of Tangaroa’s tāonga
To achieve a flourishing, rich and healthy environment
Where opportunities abound
To sustain the needs of present and future generations
We have worked with local knowledge and the best science available to define how to achieve this vision. We have applied a philosophy of gifts and gains where each stakeholder group has gifted concessions to sustain the integrity of the whole resource for the future. We have described four key outcomes and the specific steps required to achieve them. We have also described four broad actions that cut across and support all the outcomes.
State and local bond finance represents a powerful but underutilized tool for future clean energy investment.
For 100 years, the nation’s state and local infrastructure finance agencies have issued trillions of dollars’ worth of public finance bonds to fund the construction of the nation’s roads, bridges, hospitals, and other infrastructure—and literally built America. Now, as clean energy subsidies from Washington dwindle, these agencies are increasingly willing to finance clean energy projects, if only the clean energy community will embrace them.
So far, these authorities are only experimenting. However, the bond finance community has accumulated significant experience in getting to scale and knows how to raise large amounts for important purposes by selling bonds to Wall Street. The challenge is therefore to create new models for clean energy bond finance in states and regions, and so to establish a new clean energy asset class that can easily be traded in capital markets. To that end, this brief argues that state and local bonding authorities and other partners should do the following:
- Establish mutually useful partnerships between development finance experts and clean energy officials at the state and local government levels
- Expand and scale up bond-financed clean energy projects using credit enhancement and other emerging tools to mitigate risk and through demonstration projects
- Improve availability of data and develop standardized documentation so that the risks and rewards of clean energy investments can be better understood
- Create a pipeline of rated and private placement deals, in effect a new clean energy asset class, to meet the demand by institutional investors for fixed-income clean energy securities
The report concludes that traditional marine management contributes to the attainment of international targets related to protected areas and marine conservation, and that its role in this regard should be fully recognised. Such recognition should include support for and reinforcement of pre-existing systems of traditional resource management, while allowing the incorporation of cooperative management strategies in adapting to contemporary circumstances. Recognition of community ownership and control of marine areas and resources, as well as the importance of local and traditional knowledge, are essential components of best management practice in the Pacific Islands.
The Fifteenth Session of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from 26 to 28 March 2014. The meeting was kindly hosted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and officially opened by H.E. Anthony Carmona President and H.E. Devant Maharaj, Minister for Food Production of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Commission considered the review of the state of fisheries and aquaculture in the WECAFC region in document WECAFC/XV/2014/2. Members appreciated the report, described additional information available and offered to supply it to the Secretariat. The EU offered to make available to the Commission the data and information of all its members fishing in the WECAFC area, in order to contribute to the improvement of scientific advice. Members underlined the needs for: improved data and information collection; the reduction of uncertainty levels on the state of the fisheries resources; and incorporation of members’ management efforts in the review, especially for the main commercial species. It was acknowledged that declining catches could be an indication of management decisions rather than of overfishing. On the other hand inflated production data that is contrary to the known status of given stocks could trigger the misinterpretation of data and result in its erroneous use. Noting that the status report focuses on the countries that harvest the most fish, it was emphasized that the special needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) should be taken into account as well and that a separate reporting mechanism for SIDS should eventually be created.
- Most California Current System (CCS) predators are generalists, very few are krill specialists (e.g. blue whales). Owing to the variability inherent in the CCS, predators must engage in prey switching at both temporal (decadal to seasonal) and spatial (region to local) scales;
- There are foraging hotspots in the CCS, and while their general location may be similar from year to year (e.g., Northern Channel Islands to Point Conception, Gulf of the Farallones-Monterey Bay, Cape Blanco to Heceta Bank, Strait of Juan de Fuca), they are subject to temporal (decadal to seasonal) and spatial (meso- to micro-scale) variability in their relative importance, which contributes to the prey switching behavior of the predators;
- While the classic “forage species” are prevalent in predator diets of the CCS (e.g. anchovy, herring, sardine), juveniles of important federal FMP species (e.g., salmon, rockfish, hake) as well as several invertebrates (krill, market squid, octopus) are equally prevalent;
- Where human and “wild” predators coincide, based on experimental evidence, the human fishers are far more efficient in their prey harvesting activities, putting “wild” predators at a disadvantage;
- Current modeling to assess fish stocks generally takes a single-species approach, which fails to incorporate the importance of the temporal and spatial availability of key prey species; however, incorporating these prey species into stock assessment modeling (or other types) presents its own suite of challenges and cannot be based on reserving some portion of the exploited biomass alone, but rather must also address availability to predators (biomass does not equal availability);
- Undertaking further, complex modeling will require the expensive collection of additional data not currently available.
The Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) Program and Coastal Program are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s premier conservation delivery tools for voluntary, citizen and community‐based fish and wildlife habitat restoration activities across the matrix of public and privately owned land. The programs work directly with partners to implement vital on‐the‐ground habitat restoration projects across the nation and in U.S. territories.
The PFW and Coastal Programs channel government and private dollars to local communities where they create work to support new jobs and provide income to local contractors and other industries. Money spent in support of projects circulates through the economy, creating more jobs and generating economic activity. The impacts of PFW and Coastal Program funds are multiplied in two dimensions. First, the program expertise and funding is able to leverage additional resources from other partners that support projects. Second, spending creates work, generates tax revenues, and stimulates economic activity as wages and purchases flow through the economy. Together these impacts are known as the “multiplier effect.” This report focuses on the effects of PFW and Coastal program‐related spending on projects completed in fiscal year 2011 to provide an example of the economic impacts of the Programs. This report does not address many other aspects of the PFW and Coastal Programs that improve human welfare, such as ecological services, improved recreational opportunities, land acquisition, in‐kind contributions, or the effect of open space on land values.
This report features an overview of the Program’s continuing regional three-year field studies. Accompanying the details of the fieldwork are stunning video footage and still photos of this unique marine life in all regions of the U.S.
Throughout the country, the Councils are increasingly engaged in developing methods to manage potential impacts of fisheries to deep-sea coral areas, recognizing these habitats’ role in the ecosystem. And yet, the geographic distribution of deep-sea corals and the full extent of their function as fish habitats have not been adequately studied, thus limiting some Councils’ ability to design management measures. In 2012 and 2013, the Program made considerable progress in filling these knowledge gaps by locating and characterizing deep-sea coral sites and submitting the findings to the Councils.
At $2.46 million in fiscal year 2012 and $2.37 million in fiscal year 2013, NOAA’s Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program is cost-effective in generating information of immediate use to Regional Fishery Management Councils and other resource managers in conserving structurally complex habitats formed by deep-sea corals.
While demand for sustainable seafood has increased over the past decade, much of the emphasis has been on seafood buyers and retailers to rethink their seafood supply chain and has generally focused on third party certification schemes or sustainability ranking programs. There has been less emphasis on bringing existing supply to the market and fishermen have tended to be left out of the picture, despite their role as primary resource harvesters.
This report summarizes the findings and record of discussion from a workshop entitled “Creating a Sustainable Value Chain For Atlantic Canada’s Small-scale Fisheries “ held in Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 16th and 17th, 2013. The workshop brought together 43 fishermen, representatives from fishing associations and unions, buyers, distributors and processors of sustainable seafood under the common goal of creating a seafood value chain that ultimately benefits all players in the seafood system, from the ocean, to fishermen to end consumers. The motivation for the workshop was to explore ways that small-scale fisheries and fishermen who are actively engaged in conservation, specifically the Atlantic Canadian owner-operator fleet, could better access markets that value high quality, social and economic sustainability and genuine connections with food producers, with the end goal of achieving improved livelihoods for fishermen and fishing communities, as well as access to sustainably harvested seafood for local and regional consumers.
The Scotian Shelf is a rich ecosystem characterized by a diversity of marine life, communities and habitats. There are a variety of human activities that occur on the shelf, some year-round and others on a seasonal basis.
The State of the Scotian Shelf Report provides information on priority issues for environmental management, decision-making and education. The report is a modular document made up of a context document and a series of theme papers. The context document provides an introduction to the natural and socio-economic environment, providing an overview of the Scotian Shelf. The theme papers provide a more in-depth look at important issues. The themes were selected based on priorities identified through the Eastern Scotian Shelf Integrated Management Initiative. Theme papers will be updated on a regular basis. This technical report is a compilation of the context document and the theme papers completed to date.
This project, initiated in 2004, resulted in a substantial advance on the biology of major species of groupers and snappers, which are the largest reef fish exploited by fisheries in the Abrolhos Shelf. This follow-up initiative aimed to provide support for the expansion and adaptive co-management of the Abrolhos Bank Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) network, Brazil. Results from the initial award supported proposals for an additional MPA (first one in mangroves) and buffer zones for the two existing coral reef MPAs. As new MPAs are still required and management is needed for those that are already in place, sound scientific knowledge and broad community engagement are imperative, therefore we gathered and disseminated information from fish landing surveys, habitat mapping, and underwater assessments and incorporated local support. These major targets were achieved with a strong participation of community members in all phases of the project, from research to policy-making. The data collected also provided the basis for capacity-building activities carried out with our partners. The beneficiaries of this effort since 2005 include four undergraduate Biology students, three Masters students in Zoology and Ecology, and one Ph.D. candidate, whose projects included aspects of the ecology of several species of snappers and groupers in Abrolhos.
Planning Scotland's Seas: Possible Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas was published for consultation in July 2013 setting out proposals for a number of new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
The consultation ran from 25th July 2013 until 13th November 2013; respondents were invited to submit their opinions and views about the development of the MPA network and on the specific planned MPAs.
Overview of respondents
The consultation attracted 14,703 responses. This included 332 standard consultation responses (216 from individuals and 116 from organisations) and 14,371 submissions from the 11 campaign texts promoted by various organisations, briefly:
- Three relating to protection for seabirds attracting 1,626 responses.
- Three relating to protection for whales and dolphins attracting 6,627 responses.
- Three in support of the MPA network attracting 4,803 responses.
- Two supporting the South Arran possible MPA attracting 1,315 responses.
Overview of analysis
The consultation posed a series of questions on the network as a whole, the Sustainability Appraisal and the individual possible Marine Protected Areas (pMPAs).
The standard consultation responses were examined and key themes, which are similar issues raised in a number of responses, were identified at each question. Sub-themes; including reasons for opinions, supporting arguments, alternative suggestions or other related comments; were also noted. The key themes were then examined to identify whether any particular theme was specific to any particular respondent group or groups; for example was the theme more prominent in responses from individuals or from any organisational sub-group.
Marine and coastal ecosystems provide important benefits and services to coastal communities across the globe, but assessing the diversity of social relationships with oceans can prove difficult for conservation scientists and practitioners. This presents barriers to incorporating social dimensions of marine ecosystems into ecosystem-based planning processes, which can in turn affect the success of planning and management initiatives. Following a global assessment of social research and related planning practices in ocean environments, we present a step-by-step approach for natural resource planning practitioners to more systematically incorporate social data into ecosystem-based ocean planning. Our approach includes three sequential steps: (1) develop a typology of ocean-specific human uses that occur within the planning region of interest; (2) characterize the complexity of these uses, including the spatiotemporal variability, intensity, and diversity thereof, as well as associated conflicts and compatibility; and (3) integrate social and ecological information to assess trade-offs necessary for successful implementation of ecosystem-based ocean planning. We conclude by showing how systematic engagement of social data – together with ecological information – can create advantages for practitioners to improve planning and management outcomes.
There has been a significant investment in research to define exposures and potential hazards of pharmaceuticals in freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. A substantial number of integrated environmental risk assessments have been developed in Europe, North America and many other regions for these situations. In contrast, comparatively few empirical studies have been conducted for human and veterinary pharmaceuticals that are likely to enter coastal and marine ecosystems. This is a critical knowledge gap given the significant increase in coastal human populations around the globe and the growth of coastal megacities, together with the increasing importance of coastal aquaculture around the world. There is increasing evidence that pharmaceuticals are present and are impacting on marine and coastal environments. This paper reviews the sources, impacts and concentrations of pharmaceuticals in marine and coastal environments to identify knowledge gaps and suggests focused case studies as a priority for future research.
Reduction in body size has been proposed as a universal response of organisms, both to warming and to decreased salinity. However, it is still controversial if size reduction is caused by temperature or salinity on their own, or if other factors interfere as well. We used natural benthic diatom communities to explore how “body size” (cells and colonies) and motility change along temperature (2–26°C) and salinity (0.5–7.8) gradients in the brackish Baltic Sea. Fourth-corner analysis confirmed that small cell and colony sizes were associated with high temperature in summer. Average community cell volume decreased linearly with 2.2% per °C. However, cells were larger with artificial warming when nutrient concentrations were high in the cold season. Average community cell volume increased by 5.2% per °C of artificial warming from 0 to 8.5°C and simultaneously there was a selection for motility, which probably helped to optimize growth rates by trade-offs between nutrient supply and irradiation. Along the Baltic Sea salinity gradient cell size decreased with decreasing salinity, apparently mediated by nutrient stoichiometry. Altogether, our results suggest that climate change in this century may polarize seasonality by creating two new niches, with elevated temperature at high nutrient concentrations in the cold season (increasing cell size) and elevated temperature at low nutrient concentrations in the warm season (decreasing cell size). Higher temperature in summer and lower salinity by increased land-runoff are expected to decrease the average cell size of primary producers, which is likely to affect the transfer of energy to higher trophic levels.